Bienvenido a España!

Trip Start Jun 28, 2008
Trip End Aug 11, 2008

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

I landed in Madrid this morning bright and early at about 7:00 a.m., nearly 45 min. early.  The flight wasn't too bad, although I didn't get as much sleep as I had hoped!  Immigration in Madrid was very easy and only took about 20 minutes. 
I successfully met up with another student who is participating in the W&M program, Kelli; we've made travel plans together and have quickly become great travel partners.  After meeting up with Kelli we traveled by taxi to our hotel and attempted to find something to eat for lunch.  Our hotel is in more of a business district so there was only one option for lunch:  the Buffalo Grill which served American cuisine.  I travel thousands of miles to eat a Cheeseburger, fries, and apple pie for my first meal in España. 
After lunch we both passed out in our room from exhaustion and slept for about 4 hours!  We decided after we woke up that we wanted to venture out and try to figure out how to navigate Madrid via la Metro.  We spoke with the man working at the front desk of the hotel and he suggested we go to Plaza de Colon to hang with the masses and watch the 2008 Euro Cup futbol championship partido (game) between España and Alemania (Germany).  We studied our Metro mapas (maps) and somehow found our way to Plaza de Colon, only to be completely blown away by the crowds of people that were gathered there.  The guy at the hotel was not exaggerating when he told us that everyone would be at Plaza de Colon for the partido....there were thousands of people that filled the Plaza, and about 90% of them had probably been drinking for muchas horas (many hours)!
Today was a huge learning experience for both Kelli and I, and the thing we struggled with the most was the language barrier.  There are not very many people in Madrid that habla Ingles (speak English), so we had trouble several times trying to figure things out.  We're trying really hard to learn mas Español (more Spanish), or at least the important words and phrases.  Today, our most important vocabulary words were comida (food!), propina (tip/gratuity), la cuenta (the check), and sin (without).  I also discovered that España has amazing coffee that they call café con leche (coffee with milk).
I'm trying really hard to adjust my body to life in España by staying up late (about 1:30 a.m.), eating a large late lunch (between 1 - 4 p.m.), taking a siesta (nap....I'm definitely not complaining about this part!) in the late afternoon, and eating a very late and very light dinner (between 9 - 11 p.m. or later!)  I'm looking forward to moving into the dorm facility tomorrow and get all my stuff out of my suitcases! 
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